PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The divisive issue of school vouchers took center stage today at a hearing in Northeast Philadelphia.

The Pennsylvania State Senate’s Democratic Policy Committee got advocates on both sides of the school voucher issue together at the Northeast Regional Center of Community College of Philadelphia, to talk about whether Pennsylvania should use public money to pay tuition for students to go to non-public schools.

Baruch Kintisch, from the Education Law Center, says no.  He thinks it would take resources from poor students who need it most.

“Vouchers end up just being a giveaway of taxpayer dollars that will hurt children,” he told the hearing.

But Dawn Chavous, executive director of Students First PA, says parents should have the choice to move their kids out of schools they believe are failing.

“If a parent wants to leave the Philadelphia school system but does not have the resources to do so, why are we not giving them that option?”

Right now there are five forms of school voucher legislation under consideration in Harrisburg.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio

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